Sunday 30 January 2011

Todd Rundgren: Live at The Venue, London 25 05 1982

Who doesn't love the Todd-meister?* He's a bit like Zappa  - I defy anyone to say they love everything he's ever done, but what you like, you love if that makes any sense..? (No - Ed). Anyhoo, this is a fab set from nearly thirty years ago, recorded by the BBC in London. There is a version of the gig kicking around called 'BBC Rock Hour', but that misses out 'Song Of The Viking' and 'Lysistrata', both of which are present and correct here. Great sound and minimal hiss, recorded by an 18 year old Rushbo on his Pioneer stack system it took him nearly six months to save up for...sigh.

I was on a massive Todd binge around this time, having discovered him via the fantastic 'Back To The Bars' double LP (bought on a whim during 'Half Price Saturday' at Reddingtons Rare Records in Birmingham). My favourite at the time being 'Hermit of Mink Hollow' which is well represented here. His gigs around this time were lovely, intimate affairs with plenty of banter and interaction...he even stopped the show to play us the video of 'Time Heals'. Whattaguy.

Hey...nuff yakkin'...Enjoy the eighties Todd.

* My apologies to those of you who spotted I'd spelled 'meister' incorrectly and graciously didn't want to embarrass me by leaving a sarcastic comment. Expect more schoolboy errors of that nature until Google add a 'Pretentious, fake Paul Morley, token European reference' option to their spellchecker....

Bonus Hugo Largo: Live at Maxwell's Hoboken 18th July, 1987 have no idea how exotic 'Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken' sounds to a guy in provincial England....

To reward your impeccable taste in downloading the Hugo Largo stuff I posted yesterday (SEE - I told you it was amazing, didn't I?) I've dug out this little gem from a dusty corner of the hard drive. It's an excerpt from a 45 minute performance at the aforementioned venue. ain't gonna get shown on MTV and you do see quite a lot of the backs of peoples heads (albeit very cool, NY hipsters' heads) and it gets a little bit unintentionally Avant-Garde in places, but the audio is great. You do, however, get to see some of the greatest looking gear ever - just where did they get those ubercool basses? Oh yeah, the tunes are pretty good too -songs from both albums and a rarity or two. There is so little HL stuff on video that, in my world, this footage is a Very Important Thing. 

If you want to see more (especially as I've learned to use the editing software now), send me a comment and I'll chop the master into manageable chunks and put 'em up the first on your block to see a vintage HL show and all that...

Thanks to the original taper (who did a great job, joking aside and I am absurdly grateful for it) and everyone who made this available.

Eskimo Song - Live 1987

Saturday 29 January 2011

Hugo Largo: Unreleased third album, KCRW and more

My unrequited, unhealthy and colossal ultranerd fanboy obsession with REM in the latter half of the 1980s has been documented elsewhere on the blog....and will be referred back to with nauseating regularity I'm sure. It did lead me to some interesting and inspiring music including Big Star, Game Theory, Let's Active...and Hugo Largo. You can only imagine the joy I felt when I heard that Stipe had produced an album for an NY band. The ArtSchool poseur in me wept with delight that the band consisted of two Bassists, an Electric Violinist, a Vocalist and NO Drummer and the album was called 'Drum'. How postmodern. I ordered it all the way from America, not knowing what to expect. Suffice to say, that album is one of my favourite albums of all time

I began to obsess about the band. In those pre-internet days, I had to trawl through fanzines and lord knows what else to get any kind of info about them -the occasional comment in the UK music press, a review in 'Flipside'...and that was it. The album got a British release (with extra tracks, no less!) and I scooped that up. And then finally, they came to the UK for a gig. Oh my days. They played at the Cambridge Theatre, London on July 9th 1988 and were first on the bill supporting The Durutti Column and David Byrne. ...quite a concert, let me tell you. They played for about 30 minutes and my twentysomething mind turned to jelly. Intense is not the word. I dragged my girlfriend of the time back to London to see them headline at The ICA later that year...she hated every minute but I was in raptures, but that's the effect they had on people.

(Hugo Largo 'Fancy' from 'Intruders at the Palace' 1988)

(Hugo Largo 'Eureka' from 'Intruders at the Palace' 1988)

Inevitably, they signed to Brian Eno's Land record label for a not-quite-so-transcendant second album ('Mettle') and toured the UK, supporting That Petrol Emotion...a pairing that I couldn't quite understand. And then...nothing. Violinist Hahn Rowe has gone onto sessions and production, Bassist Tim Sommer  was a top-dollar record company executive and is involved in a number of projects including ambient soundscapers Hi Fi Sky. The other Bassist, Adam Peacock...has dissapeared. Vocalist Mimi Goese has done the solo thing as well as collabrating with Dance Music Polymath, Moby.

These recordings came as a trade about 20 years ago from an American fan, whose name I have sadly lost...if you're reading this, please accept my apologies and a million thank-yous. The first part is their Tim Sommer-less third album, which is sadly unreleased and (IMHO) is better than 'Mettle' but not quite as good as 'Drum'. The rest collects an amazing KCRW session (hosted by the fabulous  Deirdre O'Donoghue ) along with demos and three songs from a live gig from an unknown venue.

There is every chance you have never heard of this band, but my advice is this: If you have an interest in music that ain't just 'moon-june-spoon', enjoy bands like the Cocteau Twins and The Blue Nile, appreciate the use of mood and atmosphere, you dig creative bassplaying and are generally a supercool hep-cat who members of the opposite sex find powerfully exciting, then you MUST download this. Do you want small children to point at you in street and smirk? You don't do you?

This just might be the best music you have never heard.

Sunday 23 January 2011

Marty Willson-Piper: In Reflection

It must have been tough being Marty Willson-Piper in the mid-80s. You work hard, writing loads of groovy tunes only to have your bandmate swoop in with everso slightly better ones. Pah! He did have lovely hair and Hollywood cheekbones though.

This is his first solo album, which came out originally in 1987. A CD version came out fairly recently for about an afternoon and has since slipped quietly away again. But now it's here. And it's a rather lovely collection of his home recorded demos, including one for 'Volumes' which later turned up on 'Remote Luxury'.  Back in the 80's, we hadn't got ProTools or GarageBand or any of that malarky - we had 4Track cassette recorders. "Would you like hiss with that vocal track sir?"..."Yes please!" Marty does a great job of getting his vision across using old and inappropriate equipment and a drum machine that sounds like he's hitting a muffin tin with a biro. The songs range from  Church-y jangle to pretend Krautrock, via Kevin Ayers-esque poshboy psychedelia. Opinion tends to be divided about MWPs solo stuff - it can be stunning but it can be tooth-achingly twee. This album strikes a balance between the two and is one of the better solo Churchmember albums. Steve Kilbey and Peter Koppes turned in splendid low key releases about this time (Kilbey's 'Unearthed' is a bit of a classic) and if you can cope with Marty's back-bedroom poetry, so is this.

A few months later 'Starfish' was released and the Churchs' world was turned upside down. But for now, here's a little piece of naive wonderment....

PS: Why vinyl records are better than mp3s and all that part #267. When this was first released, this album came with an ace little booklet, detailing MWPs recording process and his inspiration for all the tunes on the record. I've scanned it and included it with the music...oh yeah, it's autographed too...ain't I a stinker?

Thursday 20 January 2011

Rain Parade: Perfume River

(Well, before you accuse me of bandwagon jumping, I'd planned to post this for ages. I've just seen 'Crashing Dream' posted on 'The Commercial Zone' and 'Happy Nightmare Baby' posted on 'Songs From Under The Floorboards', so this one's for the hat trick).

I have three criteria to post stuff: is it brilliant? Is it available as a catalogue item or official download? Has it been posted recently on a blog? If the answer is yes, no, no then up it goes. The first criteria is easy...for the other two, I refer to Amazon and Totally Fuzzy. According to Amazon, the current sale price of 'Perfume River' is £273.08. £273.08!! Hells bells, my first car didn't cost that much.

This is a great soundboard recording of a great show including 'Crashing Dream' (a more hi-fi recording than the one on 'Demolition') and a few tasty covers. RP are well represented in Blogland and quite rightly so, but given the scarcity of this release, I feel it my duty to share. Don't thank me, just pass it forward... I discovered the band just before their death knell - 'Depending On You' from the Whistle Test blew my doors off. As a result, 'Crashing Dream' is my favourite release of theirs, eighties production, synths and all. That was the first vinyl album I ever digitized, having found a lovely clean copy in a record shop in Birmingham for 99p. Thats £272.09 less than is being asked for for 'Perfume River'

And like it says on the CD 'In fond memory of Will Glenn'

Oh, by the way, if you are considering buying the copy on Amazon, you may be interested in a used car I have for sale...


This can't be today
Crasing Dream
You are my friend
Sad eyes kill
No easy way down
Broken horse
Ain't that nothin'
What she's done to your mind
Saturday's asylum
Like a hurricane
What goes on

Rain Parade: Perfume River

Sunday 16 January 2011

The Da Vincis: Eating Gifted Children

Good ol' John many people were turned onto non-mainstream music by his late night BBC Radio 1 show? Even though my tastes were pretty mainstream (if a little eclectic) until my twenties, I have vivid memories of listening to my old Binatone radio through it's single earpiece with the bedclothes pulled up over my head, waiting for Peel to play something I recognised...or even from planet Earth. But one thing I did hear that really resonated with me was 'When you're in' by The DaVinci' amongst sessions by The Diagram Brothers and Misty In Roots and probably played after a Cocteau Twins B side (at the wrong speed), was this fantastic little rockin' geetar ditty. It's very 'of it's time' owing something to early REM, Smithereens, you know...that sort of thing. (You don't get this quality of insightful Music journalism on any old blog, buddy). I immediately tipped them for stardom. They immediately sank without trace. I blame myself.

A fairly comprehensive trawl through the InterWebs has come up with nada - apart from a few dead ends involving bands of the same name. If this is their only legacy then it's a good 'un. It'll cost you nothing to download it and it probably wont change your life, but it'll really enhance it.  

STOP PRESS: I've just found a little more info on the band here - it's a fantastic blog detailing exclusively Merseyside bands. And someone is selling one on Amazon...well worth fourteen bucks, I'd say.

Aimee Mann: Live Acoustic 1993

Everyone has a 'secret shoebox' of old cassettes. When I finally decided to make good on my new year's resolution to get this blog up and running, I knew I'd have to venture into the loft and grab that box. Among the hundreds of hours of my old bands’ rehearsal tapes (can't wait to digitise that lot), I found this. It's a gorgeous, live-in-the-studio acoustic recording featuring seven tracks of loveliness, most of which can be found on her superb 'Whatever' album. No info on the box other than the record label (Imago) and the track listing. After a bit of Googling, it seems that the tunes were used for extra tracks (whoops, nearly wrote 'B sides'...) on her 'Stupid Thing' two part CD dealio.

I once saw Aimee play at the Phoenix Festival, where she was scheduled at the same time as Bob Dylan…he was on the Enormostage (crowd in attendance – gazillions), she was in a tent (crowd in attendance – several dozen). At one point, she stopped playing a song to listen to what ol’ Zimmy was wheezing through – ‘Ah, it’s only a new one’ she smiled and launched into another PopRock gem.

My other new year's resolution was to lose 14lbs...can you guess which one I'm doing best at?

Thursday 13 January 2011

Jon Auer

Do you, Dear Reader, find yourself pondering life's many unanswered questions? Does life speed up? Why is a carrot more orange than an orange? Does Paris Hilton prove Darwin was wrong? Well, the one that passes through my mind with alarming regularity is - 'Why aren't The Posies goddamn international ultramegastars?' It baffles me. What are they doing wrong? All their albums (yep, ALL their albums) are ace, they are one of the best live bands I have ever seen, the songwriting is breathtaking and all the band members are good to their dear ol' mums...well, they look like stand-up chaps in the photographs..

Helming the band (along with his workaholic musical partner Ken Stringfellow) is Jon Auer. One of the finest vocalists in the U.S. today. Nifty guitarist too. His first, full length solo album 'Songs From The Year Of Our Demise' was one of the best albums of the last decade, but practically anything he puts his name too (and there is a lot of stuff, believe me) is worth checking out.

This ain't just some barrel scrapin' throwaway kids...this is prime Posie. The version of 'Tuesday' on the freebee makes the other versions he's recorded wilt by comparison. And when you consider they were pretty damn good in the first place... Chuck in a couple of tasty cover versions and you've got an essential addition to your Posies HAVE got a Posies collection, haven't you...?

You download this on the condition that you buy a copy of 'Songs From The Year Of Our Demise'. Don't mess with karma!

Sunday 9 January 2011

Green On Red: Live at the Town And Country Club (1989)

'Poor ole Dan...'

Live albums are a bit of a mixed bunch - for every 'Live At Leeds' there's a ...(insert crappy live album title here). But this is a little piece of history.This is a BBC recording of a tour that GoR would rather forget, but it's got a ragged glory that got smoothed out a little on their other records. I'll let Mr Stuart explain...

This LP was recorded at the end of a European Tour that was beset with disasters from start to finish. There were problems with Exploding Vans, Storms in the Channel, Lawyers, Liquidators, Independent Record Companies, Domestic Dramas, Riots in Italy, Traffic Jams in Germany, The Police in Greece, The Mafia in Sardinia, Stolen Equipment and Out Of Tune Guitars.... and then The Drummer Left.

I saw them later on that year and they were still reeling - a clearly 'refreshed' Dan Stuart, deciding that he needed a break mid gig, sat down on his combo amp and fell over backwards. This was when he wasn't saying 'Big dog's cock' over and over. Or berating the audience ('How do you live in a country where it goes dark at four in the afternoon?') Or my favourite - Dan starts a solo version of 'Time ain't nothing' blissfully unaware of tuning or melody. At one stage, Bassist Rene Coleman joins in, only to be admonished by the clearly pissed-off singer - 'Stop it man, yer spoilin' it!' It was like The Faces, but in plaid shirts and with sensible hair.

This is ripped at 256 from my vinyl 10" - limited edition #111 fact fans. Enjoy.

Sunday 2 January 2011

I Love My Label

...said Nick Lowe, but he was probably being ironic.

It's great to find new stuff. That's the whole point of this and loads and loads and loads of other Blogs. It's great-er to find an entire label chock-full-a sweet ass tunes, as the young people might say. Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce to you:

...from somewhere in the South West of the UK. They've been diligently pumping out great stuff since 1994 and they're home to my new favourite band (Cheese) and my old favourite Psychedelic Troubadour (Anton Barbeau). There are some great sounding samples on the site - 'Enlarge Your Johnson' (ermmm, is that rude?) by Cheese comes highly recommended. They're a tune-tastic mix of Big Star and XTC, which has to be the greatest combination since Apple Pie and Ice Cream. Sadly, the label seem to be winding down, which makes me sad, but the back catalogue is still available giving you, dear reader, the chance to purchase some ace CD's (remember them...?) at frankly ludicrous prices - three Anton Barbeau CDs for under eight quid? Are these people mad? Well, no, they're not.  The label is run by a bona-fide music geek called Simon Felton, who also makes jolly good tunes, too.

I urge you to check 'em out, buy loads of swag and tell 'em Rushbo sent ya...and before you ask, the label has nothing to do with me, you heartless cynic, you. For shame!

Anton Barbeau-Plastic Guitar

Cheese - Why Shes Not A Millionaire

Saturday 1 January 2011

Hello and welcome... another shiny new motorway through the Global Village.
The plan is to poke around the darker recesses of the www (and a carboard box of tapes I've just salvaged from the loft) and remind you or introduce you to a whole bunch of yummy aural goodness.

...that didn't sound cheesy at all, did it?
Almost anything is fair game, but I'll be posting mainly interesting Post-Punk stuff, PowerPop, decent Alt-rock - you know the type of thing.

Questions, comments and suggestions are welcome, but be gentle, I'm a new Blogger...

Love, Light and Peace,